Archive | November, 2011

Barca, Barca, Barrrrrcccaaaaaaaa!!!!

30 Nov

I have officially been to a futbol game! It was so much fun. The crowd was so enthusiastic and so excited about the game. Oh, and to make it even better Barcelona won!

Week #3 is going very well. I taught my first lesson this morning, and it felt so good to finally be back in front of a class! The lesson was over stimulus and reaction. My teaching style is a little different than my cooperating teacher’s. We started with a bell ringer (which the students had never really done, because there are no bells and they do not change classrooms), and then we took notes for a bit. I had an activity planned for the students that demonstrated how different stimuli affect one’s balance and cause different reactions. Overall, I think the students enjoyed the lesson. It’s so fun finally getting to really interact with them.

Later today, they have a couple of assemblies and we are dissecting eyes. Then tomorrow I will teach a few more classes! ūüôā


When in Rome

28 Nov

Rome was beautiful. I wish I could get on a plane and fly back right now. Everyone was so friendly, the food was amazing, and the sites were unbelievable. We flew into Rome on Friday night, and went straight to our hotel. When we arrived to our hotel, we saw that there was a pizza and gelato shop right across the street! From this point on, we knew it was going to be an amazing trip.

We started Saturday very early. We ate breakfast at 8:30 and we were out the door by 9:00. To begin our site seeing adventure, we first stopped at the Coliseum. Below, I posted some pictures of our time there. Again, I cannot even begin to describe how beautiful it is. (Good thing I’m not an English teacher.)

After spending around an hour or an hour and a half at the Coliseum, we headed towards the Vatican. We decided to walk everywhere and not take the metro, which allowed us to really see the city of Rome. The city was beautiful. The architecture and the detail in all of the buildings was breath-taking. After about a 30-45 minute walk (because we stopped to take pictures), we arrived at the Vatican. While there, we toured St. Peter’s Basilica. We saw where the Apostle Peter was buried, along with the tombs of other Popes. We also climbed 551 stairs to go to the top of the Cupola. From the Cupola, we had the most amazing view of Rome. Next we went to the Vatican Museum, where we saw the Sistine Chapel. After learning about the Sistine Chapel in school, it was neat to finally get to actually see it.

By the time we finished all of this, it was pretty late, so we stopped for a spaghetti lunch (which was amazing) and then stopped for gelato (a staple to every meal in Rome.) And from there, we made our way to the Trevi Fountain. It was dark when we went, so it was really pretty with all of the lights. After making our wishes, we went back to the hotel for a bit before heading out to dinner at the Pizza Forum (which was suggested to us by Giovanni, the hotel clerk who became our friend.)

After a good night’s rest, we were ready for Sunday. We spent most of the day just walking around Rome looking in stores and shopping. We also visited the Pantheon and the Spanish steps, both of which were very pretty. After finishing our day in Rome, we headed back to the airport and finally caught our flight back to Barcelona at 10:20pm. Once back in Barcelona, we took the aerobus to Pl. Catalunya and then caught the night bus back to La Garriga. From La Garriga, we had about a 45 minute walk to our school. Then finally, at 3 in the morning, we arrived at SEK, and I went straight to bed.

I’m currently on my lunch break, and I’m not going to lie, this morning has been tiring. However, I would do it all again in a heartbeat! Rome was amazing, and if anyone is ever in Europe, it is definitely a city you should visit.

Another one bites the dust.

25 Nov

Week one is done, well almost. It’s been a great week. It’s also been a pretty easy week as far as teaching. We gave an exam yesterday, so all week the students had time to study in class. I had wondered why the teacher was allowing them so much in-class time to study, and he informed me that because the class is in English, he has to allow them time to study. If they only studied at home, and they had a question about what the English word meant, they wouldn’t be able to have that question answered.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. Very different, since they don’t celebrate it. haha. My teacher allowed me to explain the holiday in some of our classes. I talked about various things like turkey (because you can’t find turkey in this area anywhere!), the wishbone, Native Americans, Pilgrims, ¬†not having to go to school for 3 days (which a student then told me he was moving to the United States), and then we went around and said what we were thankful for (one student said that the last hour of school was almost over..haha). It was a lot of fun.

There are some other students here who are completing some type of student teaching. I don’t really understand it, but they are called Gap Students and they are here for the year. They live in the school and don’t get paid much. Most of them are from the UK and had never celebrated Thanksgiving before, so they really wanted to do it. So, last night, we cooked chicken (because as I said, you can’t find turkey anywhere. We tried.), corn, green beans, a few appetizers, mashed potatoes, macaroni ‘n cheese, and sweet potatoes. We then all sat down to a big table and ate a Thanksgiving dinner together. The meal actually turned out pretty good. The majority of the cooking supplies we use at home they do not have in their stores, but it all worked out.

We are headed to Rome today. I’m excited and a bit anxious, but I think it will be a blast. (Once again, hoping my luggage isn’t too big.) However, I’m going to catch about another 30 minutes of sleep before class! Adios.

Tourist Day in Barcelona!

20 Nov

Casa Batllo (by Gaudi)


Amanda and I at La Sagrada Familia

Barcelona University

Christopher Columbus Statue

Mediterranean Sea

Today we spent our afternoon touring Barcelona! It was beautiful! We bought tickets for a Bus Tour, and we spent the whole afternoon driving around Barcelona seeing sites and listening to the audio that explained it all. There is so much history and great architecture in Barcelona. While on the tour, some of the sites we saw were Placa de Catalunya, Casa Batllo (by Guadi), La Pedrera(by Gaudi), La Sagrada Familia, Monestir de Pedralbes (Monastery for the nuns of the Order of Saint Clare), Palau Reial (a royal palace by Guadi),Estacio de Sants, the 1992 Olympic site, World Trade center, the Christopher Columbus statue, the Port and the Mediterranean Sea, and a few other sites. We hope to return to some of our favorite sites in the next few weeks so that we can learn more about them and get better pictures!

After touring, we stopped for Gelato. This was my first Gelato experience, and I think I may have found a new favorite dessert! Afterwards, we headed home.

Tomorrow we are back to school, but I must say it was a wonderful weekend in Barcelona!

La Sagrada Familia

19 Nov

Second day of school at SEK was wonderful! My supervising teacher was away at a professional development in Florence, Italy (I’m a little jealous‚Ķwish we had PD in Florence‚Ķha) so, I observed the other Natural Science teacher. She can speak English, however she teaches the majority of her classes in Spanish or Catala. There was a language barrier, but it was fun to watch her teach, and I enjoyed trying to pick up on what she was telling the students. In two of the classes, chemistry labs were performed. The students were learning about limiting reagents and precipitates. In the third ¬†class, the students watched a video about the Ocean. After class, my teacher was so nice and told me the places we should tour in Barcelona. She made a list of everything and drew a map for us, which really helped on Saturday when we made our first adventure to Barcelona!

After school, we visited La Garriga again. We mainly just walked around, window shopped, and enjoyed the architecture and culture. We also found a nice restaurant were we grabbed a bite to eat.

The next day, Saturday, we made our first big adventure into Barcelona. After getting some help at the train station in La Garriga, we were able to figure out which tickets we needed to purchase to get into town and get back home. The train ride was only about 40 minutes. Once we arrived in Barcelona, and stopped to get a map, we headed off to visit La Sagrada Familia. This is the most absolutely amazing church. The building was started in 1882, and it was designed by Antoni Gaudi, who is one of the most famous international architectures. To this day, it is still not complete. They hope to finish it by the year 2025. There is so much detail and meaning to the designs in the Church, I cannot even begin to explain what all of it means on the blog.  Below are a few pictures that I took, however, these pictures do not even do the Church justice. (If you want to know more about the Church, let me know and I will be happy to bring more pictures and show you. It really was beautiful. I could go back 20 times and still not see all of the intricate details. Words cannot explain how beautiful it is.) Hopefully in one of our next visits, we will see a few more of his famous pieces.





After visiting La Segrada de Familia, we stopped at a restaurant and grabbed a sandwich and french fries, and we did  a little more exploring. Then, before heading back to La Garriga, we took a look around the huge department store near our train stop.

We are headed back to Barcelona tomorrow‚Ķhopefully to see more Gaudi architecture, the Mediterranean Sea, where ¬†the 1992 Olympic’s were held, and a few other great things‚Ķ ūüôā

First School Day

18 Nov

Here’s a short bit of how today went. Won’t say much as it’s 1:41 am here‚Ķ

Today was our first day of school! I was very nervous this morning, but everyone was so nice and helpful, and it felt great to be back in the classroom. After my teacher introduced me to the students, I always heard many “Kentucky Fried Chickennnnn!!” (At least they have heard of Kentucky somehow‚Ķ) I am working with what would be our middle school age students. The majority of the students can speak at least Catala, Spanish, and English. They are completing the IB program, so their Natural Science class ¬†is taught in English. Although the class is taught in English, there are still some communication barriers, because the students are still learning English. However, they work very hard to communicate with you as you also try to communicate with them.

After school, we headed to La Garriga for a few hours and explored the town.

Overall, it was a wonderful day, and I cannot wait to get to know my students better!


Hola La Garriga!

16 Nov

This morning (well I guess technically yesterday morning) started off with a nice and early wake up call at 6am! After ditching a few last-minute items and making a quick trip to Wal-Mart, my parents and I finally made it to Nashville, where I met the 7 other girls who are in La Garriga teaching with me. After saying goodbyes to the parents and taking a few pictures (in which sock monkey made an appearance Brittni), we boarded the plane and were bound for NY. The flight went very smoothly and fairly quick, and before we knew it we were on our next plane headed for Barcelona.

The flight to Barcelona was not nearly as quick or easy, however, we did make friends with some very nice people, some of which included a nice couple from California, and Margaret, the lady I sat next to during the flight. Margaret told me of her many world travels. She had traveled all over Europe, and was currently headed to a cruise that would travel from Spain to Italy making numerous stops along the way. My favorite Margaret quote from the trip, “I will travel until my money runs out. Once it’s gone, I will stay at home, but at least I can say I’ve been places.”

After a 7 hour flight, we landed in Barcelona, where we were greeted by Kristin. Kristin is the Barcelona coordinator for ALA, so she meet us and helped to transport us to the school where we are teaching. The school is named SEK and is located in La Garriga, Spain, which is about 40 miles outside of Barcelona and has a population of about 20,000 people. SEK is a private school, and many families who live in Barcelona send their children to the school.

Since arriving at the school, we met our cooperating teacher, were given a tour of the school, we have moved into our flat, which is located in the school building, and we have eaten non-stop. Since we have started traveling, I have not spent one second hungry. Not only did we receive a snack, dinner, and breakfast in a 7 hour period on our flight , and have a mid-morning snack and lunch at the school, but bread, sweet rolls, and crackers were also brought to our flat in case we got hungry.¬†We also made a quick trip into La Garriga, where we picked up a few maps and stopped at a market. It seems like a very nice little town, and I can’t wait to become more familiar with the area.

Probably the hardest adjustment to make (once I get over the jet lag that is) will be the eating schedule and the school schedule. Breakfast is around 9, school does not begin until around 9:30, a mid-morning snack is served around 10:30 or 11, lunch from around 1-3, school ends around 5, and dinner isn’t until 8:30 or 9‚Ķmuch different from the US secondary school schedule of 8-4 with a 22 minute lunch break and a one hour planning period.

Well, I guess I’m going to take a nap before dinner in a few hours‚Ķtrying to cure this jet lag. Adios!